“The human soul is a living paradox — neither a predetermined personality nor a completely open possibility. The point in this life is not simply to “become somebody,” but to become who we were each intended to be when we first entered this world. For each of us has the most to give and contributes most meaningfully when we become who we were intended to be from the beginning. That is the inside story and the hidden message that has been etched upon each soul.”
- Michael Meade, “The Genius Myth”
Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.
if you do not teach me I shall not learn
saying again there is a last
even of last times
last times of begging
last times of loving
of knowing not knowing pretending
a last even of last times of saying
if you do not love me I shall not be loved
if I do not love you I shall not love
— Samuel Becket, fragment of a poem
Who in our culture understands, not just intellectually but emotionally, that everything is alive? Strange ideas circulate among us, that animals don’t feel pain, that people of color are less sensitive than us white folks, that nature is basically stupid and incapable of suffering. Our poets and even our scientists are telling us that everything is alive and made from the same consciousness, the same mind, from which we cannot be separate.
We hear the words, we may even repeat them, but we don’t quite see it. Ancient peoples saw and still see it clearly, if they haven’t been corrupted by our “civilization.” Our culture of death seems normal to us. We are not shocked or dismayed at our way of life. We’re proud of it. We are “advanced.”
Who will plant the seeds of change we need? Who will help us see and love the world we are given? It’s good that we have scientific proof that existence is other than we imagine it, but will that cause us to cherish it enough to protect it?
I’m afraid we live so much in our heads that we don’t know how to love the mystery we swim in. We hardly know how to love each other. Where will the lessons we need come from? Psychotherapy? Religion? Hard knocks?
We manage to convert all our efforts to live into money and survival, devil take the hindmost. We’re captured by a false logic, not able to live from the heart’s wisdom. We’ve gotten ourselves into a jam and even if we know it we still rely on information and logic to get us out of it.
If we could see the beauty of the world, feel it’s pain and delight, we would be better equipped, It seems to me, to heal it and help it thrive. If that were our religion and psychotherapy we might be a help rather than a hindrance in this dance of life. We might stop suffering and causing others to suffer.
We need a revolution of the heart. We need a new vision of the interconnectedness of everything. And we need to care about more than success and personal survival.